Helping Out: the Latest Lifestyle Trend

Every so often, I write about a current or emerging lifestyle trend that isn’t only able to influence our own personal choices but also to shape the culture we engage with. In fact, this is one of my favorite topics to write about. It’s certainly my life goal to stay trendy and support sustainability at the same time, and I love spreading the word about it. Here are some of the lifestyle trends that I’ve previously written about and remain beloved to me:

1. Sustainable fashion

Making your wardrobe eco-friendly isn’t really as difficult as it sounds. The key, as I often point out in other aspects of daily life, is to organize. From your old ones, pick your favorite and essential clothing items then decide on what you don’t need. Go on to sell or donate them. Whatever you do, don’t throw stuff away!

As for shopping for new items, be aware of your sources. Do your research in advance. Shopping local is usually a good way to support the community. Avoiding items that might have come from animal cruelty is a good principle. At the end, I guess it’s a matter of principle and knowing which fashion companies mirror yours.

2. Food choices — organic, local, and balanced

Sustainability, though it is also seen in other aspects of daily life like fashion, most often comes up in conversations about food choices. So it’s safe to say updating your lifestyle means supporting sustainable food production. Millennials, they say, are effecting some big changes in the food industry: they opt out of GMOs, go organic, and support local. And I believe those are very good choices. Now more than ever, people are encouraged to produce their own food by growing their own gardens and such.

However, in addition to sustainable, what should food choices be if not healthy? Research says that a Mediterranean or a plant-based meal plan can give us the most health benefits. So don’t go for those heavily advertised crash diets. Choose the most balanced — thus sustainable — one for your body as well.

3. All-around mindset

Here’s the thing. Doing healthy things and following lifestyle trends without reflecting on why you do them could suffice, but they cannot ensure  long-lasting effects on your well-being. What’s really important is how you think about your life and how you let that process manifest into actual decisions. Some things that really helped me be more conscious of my choices are lagom and mindfulness. Lagom has helped me achieve balance in my daily life — from arranging my apartment furniture to reducing my work-related stress. Mindfulness has helped me embrace my mental illness, commit to a self-care regimen, and even seek help when I need it.

Now you may ask, why am I listing all of these things? It’s because I want to reflect further on what makes a certain lifestyle trend so important to me. And I’ve been thinking, in the end, it’s all about kindness, isn’t it? Sustainable fashion is all about being kind to the earth. Sustainable food choices is about being kind not only to the environment, but to your own body as well. Certain mindsets like lagom and mindfulness are about being kind to yourself and the people that you love and that love you.

I realize, maybe the next thing that I want to commit to is being kind beyond my self and my inner circle. So here’s another lifestyle trend that I believe should go viral:

4. Kindness, kindness, kindness.

Maybe it’s not even simply the latest lifestyle trend, maybe kindness is a more timeless choice that we need to make chic now. After all, it even has some amazing health benefits. So go outside and volunteer. Help out a stranger in need — whether he is in a medical emergency or simply needs a ride home — because you don’t know what impact it will make on his life. And for the matter, you don’t know what impact it will make on the world. Maybe one little favor can push someone to pay it forward and eventually end up creating an entire culture of helping other people out.

Sustainable fashion or food choices make us feel good, but what can make us feel better than being compassionate to others? And in the way that choosing organic for your salad today can be great for the environment, helping someone out may end up making the world better. Now that’s chic.

Final tip: you can actually use technology to start on this kindness lifestyle. Use the BeepBeep Nation app in reaching out to those who need your help, and learn more about the EMINENT token to get started. And hey, honestly, helping out has never been this trendy.

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TJ Maxx Supports Puerto Rican Employees In Need

Following an outpour of support from dozens of celebrities, more helping hands are heading Puerto Rico’s way. This time, department store chain TJ Maxx is continuing to send paychecks to its employees in the devastated territory.

“Based on the devastating situation in Puerto Rico, we can confirm that we have continued to pay our TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods Associates on the island,” a spokesperson for TJX said.

Since Hurricane Maria struck in September, Puerto Rico has seen at least 500 fatalities. Thousands of displaced locals remain out of a job. Above its steady distribution of paychecks, TJX is also providing its workers with food and water.

Netizens have flocked onto social media to express their gratitude for TJX’s gesture. It’s good to know that every American’s go-to for best buys is putting people above profit.

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Petsmart Donates 30 Million Meals To Animals In Need

Dog parents will do just about anything for their beloved pet. This includes paying thousands of dollars to treat disabled animals or get them insured. While some shelter residents end up in loving homes, not all of them are lucky. However, in celebrating its 30th anniversary, Petsmart has decided to give back to the animals it advocates. The pet store chain donated 30 million meals to dogs and cats in need.

During the “Buy A Bag, Give A Meal” promotion, the company will donate a meal for every bag of dog or cat food purchased in stores and online through 2017.

Petsmart is teaming up with various groups to manufacture and deliver the food. Because the program runs through to the end of the year, Petsmart hopes to donate at least another 30 million meals.

The allocation of food donations to beneficiary organizations will be based on PetSmart Charities’ evaluation of the needs among potential recipients, the ability of potential recipients to receive, handle and distribute the food donations, and where the donated meals can be most effectively delivered.

Petsmart hopes to allocate 50% of meals to dogs and 50% of meals to cats. With 7 million animals entering shelters per year, lack of food is a serious issue. It’s thanks to programs like Petsmart’s that keep man’s best friend and his feline sidekick healthy.

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UAE To Build Mars-Like Metropolis For Space Study

The future is closer than ever before, and it’s brighter than we expected. Experts are optimistic about the expansion of the AI universe and it seems technology may not be killing us after all. With the wave of new technologies comes grand efforts by nations to advance society. In particular, the UAE is planning to build a Mars-like metropolis to prepare humankind for its potential march into space.

A team will live inside the experimental city for a year, which will recreate the conditions of the Red Planet. Scientists will work in laboratories dedicated to investigating self-sufficiency in energy, food and water for life on Mars.

Looks like preparations for an impending apocalypse are finally coming to fruition. Or perhaps we’re just being cautious. The dome-shaped buildings will simulate Mars’ environment down to the degree. Developers will also erect a museum and educational spaces.

“We believe in the potential of space exploration, and in collaborating with global partners and leaders in order to harness the findings of this research and movement that seeks to meet people’s needs and improve quality of life on earth,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid of Dubai.

The UAE hopes to build an initial settlement on Mars within the coming century. Will you be among the first to experience life on another planet?

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Norway Selling Expired Food To Alleviate Waste

Color-changing food labels may be helping households to reduce waste, but the technology isn’t available to everyone. In fact, researchers in Finland have figured out how to produce food from energy because they’re that concerned. Norway wants to make life easier (and a lot more sustainable) by selling expired food to alleviate waste issues. Allow me to introduce you to Best Før.

“Most supermarkets won’t buy products that are within 10 days or so of their expiry date – it often has to be wasted. We thought, ‘Why don’t we make a place that has that kind of product, that will be beneficial to every party: the consumer, the supplier, and us. A win-win for everybody,”

Urban legend has it that dates on “use by” labels mark a product’s ultimate demise. In reality, food can remain edible weeks after their expiration dates. All it takes is a good eye and a lot of observation.

A platform called bestfø, helps supermarkets identify food at risk of becoming inedible through a digital record of products’ sell-by dates, allowing stores to locate the food that needs a lower price, or alert charities of a load of produce coming their way, without the fuss of searching through the shelves.

Food waste produces tons of CO2, which worsens climate change. By simply making the best of what is still usable, we can easily combat pollution. And if you know what you’re doing, even whip up a great meal.

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Refrigerator Camera Helps Monitor Food

The British food market is on a roll. Sainsbury recently manufactured a smart label that reminds home cooks when to use up an ingredient. However, the labels are only for ham packets. Kitchen company Smarter hopes its newest device will be a game-changer. FridgeCam is an affordable refrigerator camera that helps users monitor food in real time.

The Smarter FridgeCam takes food “selfies” which are sent to the user’s phone, allowing an instant reminder of what could be on the menu for their next meal. The app also monitors use-by dates, and issues automatic top-up reminders to buy more food products based on remaining quantities.

Why not use any camera? Well, for starters, I wouldn’t recommend shoving a point-and-shoot into your fridge. Plus, it costs less than $150, which is a steal compared to full-on smart refrigerators.

“The supermarkets tell us that the way we shop has fundamentally changed. People are shopping little and often and using different shops. The more we developed and trialled this technology, the more we found that it could not just help reduce food waste but it also encourages people to shop in a smarter and more efficient way,” [said Christian Lane, founder of Smarter]

The quirky gadget could help reduce the over-purchasing of food as well as encourage timely use. It may seem like a superfluous purchase, but at least you won’t be tossing perfectly good veggies.

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Renewable Energy Sources Can Produce Food

Dwindling resources have constantly challenged us to find new ways to incorporate unusual materials into producing everyday needs. We’ve masterminded lamps powered solely by bleach and cosmetics made from animal waste. Now, our Finnish friends have found a way to produce food using renewable energy sources like solar power.

Scientists just produced a single-cell protein from electricity and carbon dioxide, and it can be further developed for use as food or animal feed. The final product is a nutritious mix of more than 50 percent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates with the rest consisting of fats and nucleic acids.

While we’re not sure how tasty the oatmeal-like product is, it’s definitely packing a healthy punch. It’s not yet commercially available, but researchers hope to configure machines to produce meals quicker and more efficiently.

“In practice, all the raw materials are available from the air. In the future, the technology can be transported to… deserts and other areas facing famine. One possible alternative is a home reactor, a type of domestic appliance that the consumer can use to produce the needed protein,”

The Lappeenranta University of Technology, where the protein is being produced, is working on developing the machine into a mass product. The device will also decrease greenhouse gas emissions and provide cheap production alternatives.

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Cook Up A Meal With This Biodegradable Grill

Over the past year, we’ve seen recycling at its best, using old materials to create unexpected products. From backpacks made of car parts to trash packaging, many resources are proving that they can be useful even after expiring. This biodegradable grill is no exception. The CasusGrill is a one-use product — and you can toss it anywhere.

The grill is made from all natural materials that readily biodegrade… Its outer body is recycled cardboard. A layer of natural rocks form an inner shell, which insulate the cardboard from the flames… And then on the very inside, a flat layer of match-lit bamboo charcoal provides a perfectly even layer of heat. The grate above is made from bamboo, too.

The CasusGrill retails for only $8, a steal considering the product burns for around an hour. Comparatively, it decomposes much quicker than a disposable aluminum grill, which takes nearly 400 years to break down.

Those evenly spaced charcoal briquette disks? They’re far more geometrically efficient for distributing heat than dumping charcoal into a container would be. So you can get by with less charcoal.

While it may be costly to regular grillers, the product is definitely worth the buck for something more seasonal.

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Color-Changing Food Labels Help Reduce Waste

Ever waste a perfectly good packet of bacon because you forgot how long it had been open? An abundance of meaty landfills will prove you’re not the only one. To reduce the amount of food waste in households, Sainsbury has launched ‘smart labels’ to remind consumers when to use certain packets.

The new label changes colour from yellow to purple the longer the pack has been open. Sainsbury’s says it hopes this will reduce the amount of perfectly good ham being thrown away.

To be honest, as a regular in the kitchen, I could always use a gentle reminder. I don’t always see a packet of ham to its end. But the fun doesn’t stop there. The label is also temperature-sensitive and part of Sainsbury’s “waste less, save more” initiative.

The label is among many new technological initiatives – including mobile apps, scales that calculate the financial cost of food waste, and even smart fridges and cameras – which it is hoped will transform the way consumers shop and control their domestic food waste.

It’s no surprise that the labels hail from the U.K. The average British family tosses £700 worth of food annually. Most of us are probably wishing these labels were hitting our shelves–but not to worry. Other worldwide groups are taking initiatives to improve the environment.

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New App Helps Restaurants Donate Excess Food For Needy

Ever forgotten about a bag of leftovers and had to toss them in the trash? If you have, don’t fret–I’ve done it too. Restaurants are notorious for tossing out billions of pounds of what is considered ‘food waste’, which are usually still safe for consumption. This waste is disposed of in landfills and contributes to the worldwide issue of pollution. The geniuses behind start-up app MealTech have found a way not only to save food, but give back to the needy American community.

The platform acts as a dashboard to manage the flow of excess food in the communities around Feeding America’s 200 food banks… MealConnect allows business donors… to create a free account, where they can upload information about excess food they have to donate, and select a date and time they’d like it to be picked up.

MealConnect is efficient and accessible, especially to those who have no proper disposal procedures.

The whole point of MealConnect is that those smaller, easier-to-manage donations can bypass the food bank process entirely and just get straight to where they’ll do the most good.

The nonprofit currently saves around 2.8 billion pounds of food each year and has stated that its goal is to end food insecurity by 2025.

While the app is designed as a business-to-business platform, individuals can easily contribute by recycling at home.


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